With both Michael Strahan and Osi Uminyiora gone, the Giants ‘D’ suffered a severe blow that could cripple other teams. But, then, the Giants aren’t just some other team. They didn’t stumble into the Super Bowl, they fought their way to The Championship by being tough, smart and resilient. They still have Justin Tuck and can move Mathias Kiwanuka back to End — a very talented and formidable duo. But, the problem is, they won’t enjoy the luxury of the depth they had last season. But that doesn’t mean the season’s over. Far from it.
The Giants job now is to ‘HOLD THE FORT,’ until the cavalry arrives; and, yes, the cavalry is on the way. They’ll be here in November. Championships aren’t won in August or September or October; they’re won in November, December, January and February. A 5-3 or 4-4 or 3-5 or even a 2-6 record heading into November doesn’t preclude a championship run. The trick will be to get to November in a position to make that run. So, assuming Tuck and Kiwanuka are the Defensive Ends, what are some other possibilities?
Possibility#1 — The Giants talk Strahan out of retirement. Word is he’d be willing to come back for about 8 million or so, But he won’t be ready to play for a while because he’s not in football shape. So, without pushing him and assuming he stays healthy, he could be rounding into form by November.
Possibilty#2 — Osi doesn’t have the Meniscus repaired but, rather, has it removed. According to some specialists, that could put him back in 6 to 8 weeks. At that point, having been away for a while, he’d need some time to get back into football shape — again, along about November.
Possibility#3 — Jerry Reese brings a player in via the waiver wire or a trade — maybe just a journeyman or youngster who hasn’t yet ‘made his bones’ yet, like Hixon, Mitchell and Hedgecock last year. Reese specializes in finding ‘gems in the rough’ and this Giants coaching staff specializes in ‘coaching them up.’ They could have a new guy — or guys — ready to contribute by November.
Possibility#4 — By November, look for Kenny Phillips to be starting alongside James Butler at Safety with Corey Webster and Aaron Ross at Corner and with plenty of depth behind them. This years secondary could be much strongest than last years group that had their deficiencies covered up by a super pass rush.
Possibilty#5 — Spagnuolo does his usual ‘D’ ‘thing’ and — with the guys already on the roster and no new additions — mixes and matches and, like the original mad scientist, Bill Bellichick, comes up with schemes and coverages that befuddle the opposition.
In this century’s NFL, the strength of a team lies not in their personnel — all teams have good players and salary caps and roster size limitations. The strength of a team, these days, resides in their management staff. The Giants have a terrific young GM who finds talent and a great coaching staff that molds that talent into tough, smart, resilient champions who simply won’t quit. The Giants are a team that never seems to know they’re not supposed to win and as the Roman philosopher Seneca said more than 2000 years ago, “They can because they think they can.” So, memo to the NFC East — don’t count the Giants out! They can because they think they can.